The Tool Bank: Increased Productivity, Reduced Drudgery
Agriculture is a drudgery prone occupation because of the lack of access to improved agricultural tools and technologies. Access to tools and technology can enhance productivity and reduce back breaking labour, save time and reduce discomfort that arises from ergonomically inappropriate designs. The size of land holdings and limited investment ability of small and marginal farmers curtailed their capacity to invest in farm mechanisation tools like tractors or other machines and implements.
Aatapi initiated the creation of a tool bank,managed by the Farmer Producer Organization in Jambusar. The Tool Bank has invested in 17 large and small tools and machines in phase one; it caters to the need of 400+ farmers from 16 villages. Aatapi limits their role to supervision and capacity building. A steering committee comprising members of partner organisations and the FPO has been set up to guide and strengthen the tool bank.
The availability of tools and equipment through the tool bank at an affordable rental fee has accelerated farming activities like tilling, sowing, and harvesting. Studies show that use of appropriate and ergonomically designed equipment can increase farm production by 30 percent and decrease input cost by 20 percent.
“The Tool-Bank is social enterprise that has been institutionalized for the benefit of small and marginal farmers to ensure that improved tools and machines are available easily at affordable rates when needed.”